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Mission: Keeping Boundaries

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| Concept

If you are feeling that what messes up your beautifully designed time use concepts is other people’s mess, work or ideas, this mission is for you.

In this step we will deal with those people that go over your scheduled-in time boundaries (perhaps without realising that they are).  We will give people space in your time within the boundaries that already work for you.

You will start with considering your boundaries first. Whenever someone approaches you with a project, a task, a meeting proposal, you will imagine what dimensions that task will take in terms of time, and where you could put it, if anywhere, within your boundaries.

If you cannot put it within your boundaries, we will practice you saying no. Other people’s work will not spill over in your play time anymore.

| What to Expect

You will get faster and better at assessing which kind of interactive tasks or projects are of interest to you.

You will also get better at imagining your time as a bounded thing, which in itself is a major success, and will make you choose better what projects you want to put in it. You will get more discerning at not letting things generally spillover, or take longer than they have to take unless you really are enjoying them a lot, and sometimes, out of allegiance to the other things you want to have in your life, not even then.

You will understand better how much time the various things you can encounter take, what are their consequences in terms of time costs, and basically what you can and cannot afford to spend out of your time budget on them. Estimating time costs is a habit. You might feel awfully inadequate at it to start with, but through practice, you will get to mastery.

Every once in a while, you will forget or not want to go through the effort of estimating the costs, and just say yes. This is still progress even if you are regretting it, because being in an uninteresting meeting for hours will make you are aware of how costly thoughtless “yes” is.

See blogpost The time mess of other people.

| Challenge

This is an interactive mission, therefore you will progress through it as other people ask for your time. This means that you cannot control how long the mission will take, as it depends on when people will ask for your time. Your control is over remembering to use each such occasion to go through the following process:

  • Take your time to answer the request. If you are being "trapped", escape, or say you will get back to that person after checking your schedule. Do not think that is impolite.
  • Be sure on whether you want to/have to take the task or not. Imagine yourself in action on that task: will you feel resentful? Will you feel it is a waste of your time?
  • Determine roughly on paper or in your head how long the task will take. What will be the benefits for yourself. Is it worth spending that time to get those benefits? If you are doing it just because it will make the other person happy, do you really want to invest this time in this activity, or are they other ways to help them and fuel your relationship?
  • Ask yourself: where do I put this in my time within my boundaries? Do not look at your time and assume you can let that activity spill over in your play time. Play within boundaries.
  • Allocate time within the boundaries, or negotiate with the person offering various slots which ALL can work out for YOU.
  • Do the thing within the boundaries set. Don't let yourself engaged further. If a request for further engagement is made, repeat the process.
  • Assess and congratulate yourself. Did you manage to keep the boundaries up? How much of the process were you successful with?

| Setting Challenge Steps

Select how many times you wish to practice the skills in this challenge in order to build a habit around them.

After completing this challenge you will gain skills and earn a badge for your profile.

I will practice this exercise times.
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